After Celebrating 70th Birthday, Oprah Winfrey Resigns From WeightWatchers Board, Triggering 25% Shares Decline,

By Thea Felicity

Feb 29, 2024 06:46 AM EST

Oprah Winfrey And Arthur C. Brooks In Conversation With George Stephanopoulos: Build The Life You Want
(Photo : Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 12: Oprah Winfrey with George Stephanopoulos and Arthur C. Brooks discuss "Build The Life You Want" at The 92nd Street Y, New York on September 12, 2023 in New York City.

After celebrating her 70th birthday by reflecting, the US celebrity Oprah Winfrey confirmed she would not seek re-election at the next shareholder meeting in May. Despite leaving the company, Winfrey said she would continue working with Weight Watchers "to elevate the conversation around recognizing obesity as a chronic condition."  

WeightWatchers experienced a dramatic decline in its shares, dropping by more than 25% during premarket trading on Thursday, as shared by Market Watch.

This downturn followed Oprah Winfrey's announcement of her decision not to seek reelection to the board at the upcoming annual shareholders' meeting in May. 

Winfrey has served on the company's board since 2015 and confirmed her departure through a statement issued by WeightWatchers.

"WeightWatchers has given me the tools to begin to make the lasting shift that I and so many of us who are struggling with weight have longed for."

For context---WeightWatchers is a human-centric tech company that has empowered millions for six decades with effective weight loss and management programs. 

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Oprah Winfrey on her Departure From WeightWatchers

Though no longer part of the board, Winfrey expressed her commitment to continue advising and collaborating with WeightWatchers and CEO Sima Sistani to address the issue of obesity as a chronic condition and to advocate for health equity. 

She disclosed her intention to donate her financial interest in WeightWatchers to the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

Meanwhile, the Board of Directors of WeightWatchers endorsed Winfrey's proposal to donate all her stock to the museum, aiming to eliminate any perceived conflict of interest regarding her involvement with weight loss medications.

In addition to her donation plans, Winfrey vowed to actively participate in public forums and events to advance discussions on weight health. 

"Weight Health is a critically important topic and one that needs to be addressed at a broader scale. I plan to participate in a number of public forums and events where I will be a vocal advocate in advancing this conversation," said Winfrey in a statement from WeightWatchers.

As WeightWatchers observe the impact of Winfrey's departure and the company's financial performance, highlighted by an $88.1 million loss in the fourth quarter of 2023, her significant stake in the company as one of its largest shareholders remains notable. 

Thilo Semmelbauer, chairman of the board, expressed gratitude for Winfrey's contributions, emphasizing her inspirational presence and passionate advocacy for WeightWatchers' members over the past eight years. 

"What I know for sure, we will dearly miss her presence on the Board," Semmelbauer remarked.

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